One annoying aspect of analysts' pronouncements (here I am exclusively referring to the sell-side) is their often quoted price targets of various stocks, either to buy or short (and cover). For instance, Mr. Top Analyst from Bulge Bracket firm who is covering Cisco may say that he thinks the stock is cheap (aka a value) and that his 6 month price target (from today's 18.58 close) is 26 or a 39.9% gain. He also issues a buy/outperform recommendation. After that date, let's say the price closes around 13 (for a loss of 30% from that previous price and a 50% decline from the target price--I won't deal with the opposite where it rises greater than the target price because then the analyst becomes a guru). What usually happens is that the analyst would say that the stock is now even more undervalued and that one should dollar cost average their nominal loss by buying even more stock. Of course, this could have two outcomes: 1) the stock rises enough to where you breakeven your paper loss; 2) it continues to fall and either stays there of a very long time or goes bust. It seems that if he is wrong, aside from insider chuckles, that now there is no real punishment by either his own firm or institutional clients (II poll) as long as he gave a good faith effort. However, in the REAL world, wrong decisions usually have consequences. If a CEO makes a wrong decision on what product to support he can be fired for the resulting bad business regardless of his effort. If a salesman makes 1000 calls but only garners 2 sales, when he was supposed to get 20, he can be terminated. What I am getting at, and because of the new regulatory measures to separate analysts from pressures from banking, it seems that analysts have a free ride to make good, bad or indifferent calls. By this I mean that: 1) most institutions ignore analysts' recommendations (they only inspect the reports for their insights); 2) most brokers tell the average investor that the their firm's analysts make no guarantees about future performance of their stock selections and anyways they should do their own research; 3) since analysts now should have no roll (theoretically) in investment banking, their compensation cannot be tied to whether they bring in clients; 4) most prop. traders at the analyst's firm, I am sure, do not really make daily trading decisions on the his stock reports (though they may refer to the research from time to time). So, what now gets an analyst fired (aside from gross negligence, incompetence, fraud or illegality)?